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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Jones Throne

posted by on January 10 at 9:30 AM

One of my favorite things to do these last few months has been to pay a visit to the throne at the Henry Art Gallery. It’s the humblest possible throne, made of splattered mud and sticks, beset by a pair of van Goghish boots that push it almost into ridiculous cliche, but don’t.

Photo: Youth in Focus

That photo was taken before the black boots were added, not long after artist Kim Jones’s brief performance in October in that spot in the gallery, as a tired Mudman with an eyelid crushed under a pair of hose. The hose are on the chair.

Jones is old and thoughtful now (listen to him on podcast). Robert Storr, in his lecture tonight at UW, will talk about why he chose Jones for this summer’s Venice Biennale. Surely, it had something to do with waróJones’s war drawings on the backs of shirts echoed plenty of other politically minded photography and installation work at the Arsenale.

When he was young and stupid, not long after he’d returned from duty in Vietnam, Jones burned live rats as an art performance, repeating an act that was fairly common among American soldiers in Vietnam. It earned him probation and the lifelong hatred of plenty of people, some of whom know nothing else about him and never fail to comment every time I write anything about him here. (Hi again!)

Burning rats is pathological, but Jones is not. See his haunting, violent, rickety, quiet work before the Henry show closes January 27.

RSS icon Comments


He would have been fine if he had a Department of Defense permit for studying the effects of fire on live mammals.

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 10, 2008 10:12 AM

I'm treating all these arts-related posts as a desperate plea for attention.

And ignoring them.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | January 10, 2008 10:15 AM

Jen - if you say this is art, then one assumes there will be no need for a mop and bucket after the installation is uninstalled. Wouldn't the detritus of its having been there be art too? Jim Dine pretty much proved that whatever people say is art, must be art, and if you, as the viewer, disagree, well, you're just a sticks-idiot.

Posted by RHETT ORACLE | January 10, 2008 10:21 AM

Why this piece of crap deserves any attention is beyond me.

Posted by crazycatguy | January 10, 2008 10:33 AM

WOW, you people are closed-minded and anti-art!

Posted by Amy Kate Horn | January 10, 2008 10:49 AM

I think that's what I said.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | January 10, 2008 10:54 AM

Art like this takes a bit of investment on the part of the viewer. To Jones, as well as many other people, sticks, more specifically the arrangement of these sticks, hold loads of symbolic meaning. If you as a viewer would just give up a bit of your time and subconsciousness you would be able to appreciate, even if you don't like, Kim Jones.
P.S. I think that lighting a rat on fire is one of the most beautifully humanist works Jones ever did. He gave us something very personally and gave us a view onto a world many people never see.

Posted by Timothy Wind | January 10, 2008 11:04 AM

Yes, yes, yes--lighting rats on fire is dreamy and poetic. I get it.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | January 10, 2008 11:09 AM

@5 - of course we are. You can tell by the long lines to see this.

(looks at the online pic of Red Square in MyUW)

Um, maybe they got bored and decided not to line up?

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 10, 2008 11:31 AM

Amy Kate Horn, and I don't care!
Amy Kate Horn, and I don't care!
Amy Kate Horn, and I don't caaaaaaaaaaaare!!!!

This art is total crap!

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | January 10, 2008 4:09 PM

sorry for not getting to this sooner, but I don't have all day to read SLOG comments.

What are you looking for "Napoleon", realism? Well how about this: Jone's live rat burning is a direct document of the activities he and the other officers entertained themselves with in Vietnam.

Posted by Timothy Wind | January 10, 2008 4:13 PM

By that measure, napalming Vietnamese is art.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | January 10, 2008 4:14 PM

I didn't think we were talking about art. I thought we were talking about Kim Jones.
Also: No, by that measure Kim Jones napalming Vietnamese in America is art.

Posted by Timothy Wind | January 10, 2008 5:29 PM

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